Schiff Warns of Acquittal Precedent: Trump ‘Could Offer Alaska to the Russians’

Mairead McArdle

Representative Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) said Monday that “a whole range of utterly unacceptable conduct in a president would now be beyond reach” if the Senate acquits President Trump in his impeachment trial.

Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, said during closing arguments in the trial that “Trump could offer Alaska to the Russians in exchange for support in the next election, or decide to move to Mar-a-Lago permanently and let Jared Kushner run the country, delegating to him the decision whether to go to war.”

Schiff also accused Trump’s legal team of employing the “dangerous” and “absurd” argument that a president cannot be impeached for anything other than a violation of federal criminal law.

According to Trump’s lawyers, “abuses of power that would help the president get reelected were permissible and therefore unimpeachable, and only those for pecuniary gain were beyond the pale,” Schiff argued. “Under this theory, as long as a president believed his reelection was in the public interest he could do anything and no quid pro quo was too corrupt, no damage to our national security too great.“

Democrats have accused Trump of withholding military aid from Ukraine until the country pledged to investigate allegations that 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden used his position as Barack Obama’s vice president to help a Ukrainian gas company avoid a corruption probe soon after his son, Hunter Biden, was appointed to its board of directors.

The Senate voted Friday not to hear testimony from new witnesses or call for new evidence and is expected to vote to acquit Trump on Wednesday.

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